I heard about “lean” methodologies while I was doing masters in Engineering Management. Then I related those concepts with my dad’s work, he’s a mechanical engineer and he always followed lean principles but never told me what he was doing is LEAN or may be I ignored, which is highly possible.
So, while I was half way through working on my first idea Streamline, I watched Eric Ries talk on Lean startup. I liked it and thought of implementing his Lean Startup methodologies. I thought lean startup is about building Minimum Viable Product (MVP), i.e. building product with minimum features so that I can release it.
And you’re correct, I screwed it. Every feature looked minimum to me, so I ended up releasing my version of MVP, which is finished product. Everyone looked at the product, thought some features are cool but never used the product.
This project took almost 6 months to develop and another 4 months to learn that nobody wanted it.
- Never do it alone: I came up with the idea and I was the only one building the product. I was building this on force.com platform, as none of my friends knows force.com, I was the one designing and writing code. Have someone on your team, so that you have a person to share, push and argue, then eventually find your co-founder. Also, be aware of the industry, needs and how it’s moving.
- Lean startup is not just MVP: I learned that lean startup methodologies is not just about product development. It’s how you’re the doing the startup. It includes idea, customer development, pivot, product development, team etc…
- Fail fast: After my first project it’s obvious that next time it shouldn’t take 10 months for me to learn that product failed. I should fail fast so that I can pivot (change gears and move).
- Misc: I got to know that it takes many more things to do a startup. I learned about market research, customer validation, how to pitch, marketing, sales, partnerships, networking, hiring, few programming languages, web design…. and still learning. I also got to know my strengths and weaknesses.
Of course, I learned these lessons in a hard way, paid the price, but I’m glad I learned.
Now I know what I love doing.
In the next post I’ll share how I applied these lessons while doing my next startup TrendArY.